Orton Latest Name Added to QB Derby

At times Kyle Orton looked to be a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy and possibly the first quarterback taken in the draft, but a poor second half of the season meant he was available for the Bears in the fourth round.

Orton was the seventh quarterback taken in the draft and the 106th overall selection, which leaves the Bears feeling they got good value for the pick.

"To get someone of that caliber in the fourth round, I think it's a great deal," said offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "He is a first- or second-round talent. He's a very talented young man and I'm very familiar with him."

As the former head coach at Illinois, Turner watched Orton develop over his career at Purdue.

The six-foot-3, 233-pound Orton followed Drew Brees and started 35 of the 44 games he played in for the Boilermakers. His production improved in each of his four years in college.

Orton opened the '04 campaign with numbers that made him the early favorite for the Heisman. In the first four games of the season he threw for 1367 yards, 17 touchdowns and no interceptions.

However, as he tried to pickup a first down with his feet in the closing minutes against Wisconsin, Orton fumbled and his season took a turn for the worse.

Purdue lost four consecutive games and Orton suffered a series of hip injuries in the middle of the streak.

"It was just tough the fact that I got hurt and obviously we got off as a team to a great start and individually I got off to a great start also," Orton said. "To get hurt and not be able to play in the tough stretch where we lost four games in a row, it was obviously hard but I thought I bounced back pretty well at the end of the season."

Orton returned in the final two minutes against Ohio State and led a come from behind victory thanks to an 80-yard drive for the game winning score.

A week later, he put up 522 yards in a 63-24 blowout against Indiana. He capped his college career with 281 yards passing through the air and three touchdowns against Arizona State in the Sun Bowl.

Overall Orton finished third on Purdue's all time record list with 9,337 yards and 63 touchdowns.

While Orton admitted he was surprised not be to selected on the first day of the draft, he's happy with the final destination.

"I'm really not too worried about it," Orton said. "I love the fact that I am playing for the Bears and I have known coach Turner for a while since he coached at Illinois and I'm really excited right now."

Orton will compete for the third quarterback role as a rookie and could develop into something more with time.

"We'll see how it unfolds, but I know that Kyle's got a lot of talent," Turner said.


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